Consolidating democracy prerequsites
En Zambie, la victoire époustouflante du Mouvement pour la Démocratie Multiparti (MMD) en 1991 ne s'est pas traduite par une amélioration significative des conditions de vie du peuple.Ayant amplement élargi la sphère politique, le gouvernement MMD demeure toutefois non seulement conservateur, mais également incapable d'établir un ordre véritablement transparent, responsable, moral et politique.In many cases (e.g., Chile as of 1996) in which free and contested elections have been held, the government resulting from elections like these lacks the de jure as well as de facto power to determine policy in many significant areas because the executive, [End Page 14] legislative, and judicial powers are still decisively constrained by an interlocking set of “reserve domains,” military “prerogatives,” or “authoritarian enclaves.” Third, no regime should be called a democracy unless its rulers govern democratically.If freely elected executives (no matter what the magnitude of their majority) infringe the constitution, violate the rights of individuals and minorities, impinge upon the legitimate functions of the legislature, and thus fail to rule within the bounds of a state of law, their regimes are not democracies.Le MMD s'est vu confronté à des difficultés dans ses politiques ethnique et régionale et a été affaibli par plusieurs scandales.L'avenir de la démocratie en Zambie dépend du degré de consolidation de la libéralisation, de la véritable démocratisation du système politique, de la mobilisation du peuple, de leurs communautés et d'organisations, ainsi que de leur partage du pouvoir, du démantèlement de l'Etat néo-colonial répressif et de la construction d'un Etat national populaire.Yet, while the military has civilianized itself in Ghana, life-presidents have given way to the popular will in Malawi, apartheid has been more or less dismantled in South Africa, and communist governments have crumbled in Benin and Ethiopia, the major challenge confronting these courageous efforts at political renewal has been the consolidation of democracy.
Irrespective of the adopted strategy, the new political movements have succeeded in compelling military dictators to accept political pluralism (Benin, Babangida's Nigeria, and Ghana); one-party regimes to allow for more parties (Kenya and Zambia); and one-person life-presidential systems to adopt multiparty political systems (Malawi).
In sum, when we talk about the consolidation of democracy, we are not dealing with liberalized nondemocratic regimes, or with pseudo-democracies, or with hybrid democracies where some democratic institutions coexist with nondemocratic institutions outside the control of the democratic state.
Only democracies can become consolidated democracies. Let us now turn to examining how, and when, new political systems that meet the three minimal conditions of “stateness,” a completed democratic transition, and a government that rules democratically can be considered consolidated democracies.
Any effort to superimpose a specific narrow formula of democracy could lead to mere formal compliance, such as allowing multipartism without "real democracy3." The recent wave of democratic openings and struggles in Africa has challenged not just one-party political systems and personal rule, but also military dictatorships, pseudo-democracies, and the general suffocation of civil society.
With the on-going changes in the global order and the gradual recomposition of socio-economic and political relations, Africa has not been left out of the political, if not the economic wave.
As Denis Venter has noted in the case of Malawi, the "liberation dividend" has not followed the truly political earthquake which saw the defeat of Kamuzu Banda, one of the continents most infamous dictators: "The restoration of aid promised by donors on condition of the successful completion of the democratization process has yet to materialize in any significant way.5" To be sure, the political changes in the continent are precipitates of a complex set on internal and external factors and developments.